A’s, Jim Johnson Avoid Arbitration

6:45pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Johnson received a $10MM salary (Twitter link).

6:36pm: The Athletics have avoided arbitration with closer Jim Johnson by agreeing to a one-year contract, the team announced on Twitter. Johnson is represented by Moye Sports Associates. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the right-hander was projected to earn $10.8MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

Johnson was acquired by the A's in exchange for Jemile Weeks in a salary dump with the Orioles. The right-hander's hefty arbitration price tag is driven by his Major League leading 101 saves over the past two seasons. Johnson also owns a 2.70 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 over the past three seasons, and his ground-ball rate hasn't dipped below last season's robust 58 percent since the 2010 campaign. He will inherit the ninth inning in Oakland following Grant Balfour's departure.

Johnson represents one of the most interesting arbitration cases in this year's class, as Swartz outlined in an Arbitration Breakdown piece in November. Because so few closers go year-to-year for as long as Johnson has, and because back-to-back 50-save campaigns are so rare, there were few comparables to use when crafting a projection for his 2014 salary. In fact, the best comparable for Johnson's 2014 arbitration case could be Johnson's own 2013 arbitration case, Swartz noted.

Oakland GM Billy Beane still has five remaining arbitration cases, as can be seen in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker: Jed Lowrie, Craig Gentry, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Luke Gregerson.

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4 Comments on "A’s, Jim Johnson Avoid Arbitration"

1 year 7 months ago

You know who could use a closer? The Orioles.

1 year 7 months ago

They needed the cash to pay the doctor for balfours physical.

1 year 7 months ago

Jeez that’s a lot but I’d much much much prefer to pay him for just one year than give a reliever $18-20 million over 3 years

That plus if (and there’s gonna be a lot of these) Cook can dominate without the end-of-the-year funk. One or two minor league guys like Finnegan/Dull/Healy/Sanburn/Hassebrock can make a big jump forward then Jim Johnson or Luke Gregerson can become an enticing piece to a team that’s really desperate for a reliever. There’s a team or two desperate for proven relievers.

1 year 7 months ago

If Cook fixed his mechanics to keep the ball down in the zone consistently, I believe he could be one of the best closers in the game.